By Saahil Menghani:
Get prepared to hear loud voices filled with zeal and excitement — shouting “dheel de, dheel de” [“loosen it up”] in an extravagant atmosphere of the Independence day. Over the last 63 years of independence, nothing has decreased the over zealous enthusiasm and the passion to magnificently celebrate the grandeur and demeanour of flying colourful, big and small, in different shapes and designs, cheap or costly — Kites.
A swirling and swishing kite bending to chase another blowing one to circle and round it off. Both the fighters then perform a divine and in-explainable stunt in the air dancing their way left and right, floating and flying up and down and finally getting detached from all the bond ages, threads and duties and swiftly taking a voyage to an unknown destination symbolising its tension free body, it’s lightness after being freed. A striking similarity to life!
“Salman ne Shahrukh aur Aamir dono ko hara dia,” reveals Mohammad Shareef, a kite vendor, who estimated that this time the maximum number of kites sold had Salman’s pictures engraved on them with it’s ‘Veer’ look.
Traversing the Lal Kuan road, the famous hub of kite merchants, I was eagerly looking forward to grabbing some Chinese kites. My crave for this kind was fulfilled by Mohammad Shabber, present care taker of Shabber Bhai Patang Wale. “Chinese patange pit gyi hain,” [The sale Chinese kites has suffered a loss,] he smiled at the triumph of Indian kites.
“The basic model of Chinese Kites is priced Rs. 10 which is a whopping amount when compared to the Indian counterpart that is available at a modest Rs. 0.50,” said Shabber, as he explained the whats and the whys of the decline in the sale of the Chinese kites.
India’s climate conditions validate that the built of Chinese kites is not fit to fly in India. “These kites are basically meant to fly on a beach where the wind is blowing very fast. Foreigners use it as a toy, basically, to serve the purpose of light entertainment not hardcore fun and kite fighting that we do here in India,” explains Nitin Jain, another kite dealer from Lal-Kuan.
Wondering how to buy the perfect kite this season? The two basic necessities of kite flying are the Manja i.e. the thread and your experience of kite flying. The kite should not be very tight as that would retard it’s flexibility in the air. Say no to a piece whose surface is rough with small wooden pieces standing up like quills all over it.
It is difficult to exactly point out the nailed down reasoning of declining ecstasy and fanaticism for flying kites but during conversation with experts and kite-flying maniacs we learnt a few details. “There was a time when I used to fly a kite from mid July to August on a daily basis but now on the right hand side of my house, a huge building has been constructed that restricts the flow of the air.” exclaimed Ajay Batra, a kite addict with his eyes down.
Increase of technology, and least initiative by parents to educate children about kite-fying as a tradition is another reason.
However, this Independence day we urge you to forget all inhibitions and live that dream of flying that kite up high — as high as the sky — and let us know your experiences at [email protected], or tweet us at @YouthKiAwaaz.
The writer is a Special Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.